May 8th, 2010
03:33 PM ET

Effort to place dome over oil well dealt setback, BP says

[Update 3:58 p.m.] Read the full CNN.com story

[Posted 3:33 p.m.] The effort to place a containment dome over a gushing wellhead was dealt a setback when a large volume of hydrates - crystals formed when gas combines with water - accumulated inside of the vessel, BP's chief operating officer said Saturday.

The dome was moved off to the side of the wellhead and is resting on the seabed while crews work to overcome the challenge, Doug Settles said.

Suttles said the gas hydrates are lighter than water, and as a result, made the dome buoyant. The crystals also blocked the top of the dome, which would prevent oil from being funneled to a drill ship.

"What we had to do was pick the dome back up, set it over to the side while we evaluate what options we have to actually try to prevent the hydrate formation or find some other method to try to capture the flow," Suttles said.

He said two options officials are looking at are heating the dome or adding ethanol to dissolve the hydrates.

soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Jon W

    Also, comment #41 is pretty funny.

    May 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. michael nyc

    hello – second time around

    dome is not necessary and wasting time – oil floats to surface and can be pumped into tankers/barges –

    employ a floatation of existing tankers/barges starting at epicenter of shaft leak to recover (pump skim off surface oil)

    possible "stop leak" would be explosion deep in old shaft using a missile

    thank you

    Michael Gruters – former faculty physics Princeton late 60'

    p.s. the use of dispersing chemicals make surface removal impossible and poisons the sea – really stupid....

    May 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Blood,Money&Oil

    Desperation shows its ugly face in many ways,no one can excape the times we live in.The answers are so simple and we all know where to look,but its easier to just avoid the question.And if i seem too inconclusive,its just because its so elusive. Though ive said it all before,ill say it once again:Everyone needs something to believe in.

    May 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Glenn

    I would point out that the article makes no statement that BP has given up on this approach. They are likey working on ideas to deal with their finding. I don't think the fat lady has made an appearence quite yet.

    May 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bbill

    leave it up to man to dump a load of excrement in the sand box we all play in

    May 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JORMA

    It needs to a very large "containtment vesel" shaped like inverted funnel made of heavy guage fabric or polymer (flexible), secured to the bottom of the floor that goes up to about a half mile were that (narrow) end of the funnel can be CINCHED to connect with a pipe to take the oil the rest of the way to the surface

    May 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Moira

    The poster who said that this rig was outside of US jurisdiction is just plain wrong. BP filed an environmental impact statemennt which just poo-pooed the risk of this deep well and the MMS people just told them to be "extra careful." MMS did nothing to require them to address the issue of this well being at such a great depth. The regulators once again hand in glove with the regulated.

    May 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JORMA

    the conditions are different so the containment vessel needs to be different (than those used in lesser depths)

    Instead of steel (strong to withstand pressures) use FLEXIBLE MATERIAL to *steer* the material (oil) in controlled flow closer to the surface.... see post #111

    May 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nevadabooks

    These methane hydrate crystals are very, very explosive, no?

    May 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jon W

    Comment 107 –

    I think the oil is not floating to the surface like you think. It's at the surface but also about 10ft down. They can only skim the top few inches with the "Hair nets" they're using. And a barge or tanker would fill up really fast and then where is it going to dump it's payload? by the time it dumps and comes back out another 200,000 gallons of oil has pumped into the sea. Of COURSE they need the dome. or SOMETHING to stop the gushing. Also, a missile will not guarantee stopping the leak. It might make it worse. I do agree with what you say about dispersing the oil I don't see how that's a help at all. How do you clean dispersed oil. All and all I like that you're at least trying to come up with a good idea. Keep working! 😉

    May 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. artwriter

    Michael the nyu physics prof agrees with explosion. GLENN calls that "assine and ill conceived ideas using explosives in the presence of volitle frozen hydrates and plenty of oil under pressure." IS GLENN A PHYSICS PROFESSOR too AND DOES OIL actually BURN at 5000 feet Michael?

    May 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. artwriter

    Michael the nyu physics prof agrees with explosion. GLENN calls that "assine and ill conceived ideas using explosives in the presence of volitlefrozenhydrates & plenty of oil under pressure." IS GLENN A PHYSICS PROFESSOR too AND DOES OIL actually BURN at 5000 feet Michael?

    May 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Blake

    You just cant make anybody happy these days... if this were happening in Africa, you wouldn't see half of the people on here complaining about it, the fact that its happening in our back yard seems to get everybody's panties in a bunch... How about everybody blogs about the real reason the ferry crashed in new york, was because of oily conditions on the water!!1

    I do not recall seeing people voicing to stop the NASA program when the shuttles exploded..

    Everybody needs to adapt and adjust to the current times... drilling isn't going anywhere, there is nothing you/me/your dog can do about it...take every single thing out of your household right now that doesn't have a petroleum base to it and see how comfortable you live.. take away all of the nice smooth highways out there, might as well buy yourself a horse because that's all your going to have... and do not forget about getting that axe sharpened, for the winter, because we cant use natural gas to warm you up when its -20 and a blizzard outside

    Does this suck? of course.. but honestly, are you worried about the oil, and the bird/fish or you more worried about your upcoming summer vacation being spoiled?

    But Keep up all these great entertaining negative comments on 'stupid BP is for this, and how ignorant engineering is the reason why the blue waters are about to turn black" as you sit on your 21st century laptops and iphones and blackberrys haha

    oh heres a fact... if anybody of you have ever been to the Lousiana/texas coast, its not the aqua blue setting that you see in Florida...

    May 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. artwriter

    Michael the nyu physics prof agrees with explosion. GLENN calls that assineand ill conceived ideas using explosives in presence of volitlefrozenhydrates & plenty of oil under pressure." IS GLENN A PHYSICS PROFESSOR too AND DOES OIL actually BURN at 5000 feet Michael?

    May 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Paul Bernucci

    Can't all you people see what BP is really trying to do!! Instead of fixing the problem by covering all three leaks with domes of concrete . They continue to seek profit from this nasty situation by insisting to send oil back to the surface so that they can continue receiving profit from the oil coming from that line. Do you know how much money they could potential make form a gas line like that. Don't you all realize how much money they are already loosing from this crisis and how expensive it is to install new oil rigs these days. If they were really worried about this life threatening ecological situation that we all are in, they would have pumped concrete down there long ago to stop this once and for all. GAS IS NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN OUR PLANET!!!!!!!!! Please people, I am asking those who can to speak out and get others involved in stopping this serious disaster before oil destroys the entire Gulf. My question is why isn't the government more involved with the effort? Are we all going to seriously just sit here and watch our beautiful Gulf of Mexico go to &^%*.

    May 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
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